“Skillfully written. A worthy introduction.”—Booklist
Anne Frank: Life in Hidingby Johanna Hurwitz
From July 1942 until August 1944, a young girl named Anne Frank kept a diary. Keeping a diary isn't unusual. Lots of girls do. But Anne's diary was unique. It chronicled the two years she and her family spent hiding from the Germans who were determined to annihilate all the Jews in Europe. In this sensitive and thoughtful introduction to the Holocaust and to the life of one of its best known victims, acclaimed author Johanna Hurwitz deftly evokes the background of World War II while capturing the unforgettable spirit and tragedy of Anne's life.
“Skillfully written. A worthy introduction.”—Booklist
- Jewish Publication Society
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
Happy Birthday, Anne
June 12, 1942, was the thirteenth birthday of Anne Frank. Her home, at 37 Merwede Square in Amsterdam, was filled with flowers as Anne sat down to open her presents. She received books, jewelry, a game, and a puzzle. There were chocolates and other candies. Anne also received some money that she could spend as she wished. Right away, Anne made up her mind. She would buy herself still another book, one about Greek and Roman mythology. Anne was a lively girl with loads of friends. She loved to go skating and to play with her classmates, but she loved reading, too. Among the gifts, there was a book with a red-and-white checked cover. Inside, the pages were blank. It was a diary in which Anne could record her own story.
Probably, Anne also received a poem that her father had written in honor of the event. It was a family tradition, and Anne and her older sister Margot looked forward to those verses that he wrote for them on special occasions. He wrote his verses in German.
The Frank family lived in Holland, but it was only natural for Otto Frank to write his poems in German. He had been born and educated in Germany. In fact, the whole family-both parents and Anne and Margot had been born in Germany. During the First World War, Otto Frank had served in the German army and had become a lieutenant. When Otto married Edith Hollander in 1925, they settled in Frankfurt, Germany. He assumed they would live there for the rest of their lives. After all, Otto's ancestors had lived in that city as far back as the seventeenth century. In 1926, the Franks' first daughter Margot was born. Three years later, on June12, 1929, their second daughter was born. She was named Annelies Marie. It was a long name for a baby, and before long she was just called Anne.
Although the Frank family was German, it was also Jewish. In 1929, Frankfurt was the home of about 30,000 Jews among a total population of 540,000 people. After Berlin, it was the second largest Jewish community in all of Germany. At one time, there had been rules singling out the Jewish people and forcing them to live in a separate area called the ghetto. But since the beginning of the nineteenth century, new laws said that the Jews were equal to all other people in Germany; they could live and work as they pleased. With such a long history of acceptance and opportunity behind them, it was no wonder that the Franks looked forward to a long and happy life in Frankfurt.
But even though 1929, when Anne was born, was a time of celebrating for Otto and Edith Frank, it was not a good year for Germany. Many businesses closed, and, as a result, thousands of people were out of work. One quarter of Frankfurt's population was unemployed.
A new political party called the National Socialist German Workers party-the Nazis-had been formed after the First World War. As times grew worse, more and more people supported this party. These supporters blamed the bad times in Germany on a weak government and on the Jews.
It was not the first time in history that the Jews were blamed for something they had not done. Anti-Semitism had come and gone before. Edith and Otto Frank and the other Jews around them hoped that, with time, this ill feeling toward them would be forgotten.
But as the economic situation got worse, the Nazis became stronger. In an election in 1933, Adolf Hitler, the party's leader, was elected as head of a government made up of several political parties. Two months later, he seized total power. All the other political parties in the country were outlawed, and those people who opposed the Nazi party were sent to prison camps.
With Hitler firmly in power, anti-Semitism became official government policy. Laws were passed that did not allow the Germans to shop in stores owned by Jews. It was forbidden for people who were not Jewish to consult a Jewish doctor or a Jewish lawyer. Furthermore, physical attacks against Jews in the streets were common.
By mid-April 1933, a law was passed stating that all public employees who had even one Jewish grandparent were to be fired from their jobs. Jewish teachers were not permitted to teach in the schools. As Jews lost their jobs, there was more work for pure Christian Germans. The Nazis called these Germans "Aryans."
Suddenly the Franks found that they were not Germans after all-they were Jews, and, because of that, they were hated. Most of the Jews living in Germany tried to convince themselves that these new laws would not last. How could more than a hundred years of acceptance be undone in just a few weeks? It was difficult for men who had served in their country's army and had fought for Germany in the last war to believe that they were not true citizens. Surely the madness of the Nazis was just a passing phase in German history.
Some Jews, however, realized that Germany was no longer a safe place in which to live and to raise their families. And Otto Frank was one of them. In 1933, when the Nazis seized power, he left Frankfurt and went to Amsterdam, Holland. He had often gone there on business trips. There, he set up a branch of a German company. His wife and daughters joined him months later, and a new life in a new country began for Anne and her family.
Holland is famous for its great religious tolerance and acceptance of all people. In the seventeenth century, the Pilgrims, who were to become some of the first American settlers, traveled first to Holland before they boarded the Mayflower and came to the New World. And still earlier, in 1492, Jews fleeing from the...
Meet the Author
Johanna Hurwitz is the award-winning author of more than sixty popular books for young readers, including Faraway Summer; Dear Emma; Elisa Michaels, Bigger & Better; Class Clown; Fourth-Grade Fuss; and Rip-Roaring Russell, an American Library Association Notable Book. Her work has won many child-chosen state awards. A former school librarian, she frequently visits schools around the country to talk about her books. Mrs. Hurwitz and her husband divide their time between Great Neck, New York, and Wilmington, Vermont.
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